The National Census Coordinator (NCC) Ms. Malebogo Kerekang has told District Census Officers (DCOs) that the Pilot Census is considered to be one of the major milestones in the census calendar.
Ms. Kerekang made these remarks at the DCOs Pilot Census Evaluation Workshop held at Travelodge on 18th 2021.
“ This exercise accords us an opportunity to do a trial test of all that would be required to ensure delivery of a successful census which we are all aware will be conducted in August 2022”, She said.
Ms. Kerekang also gave the DCOs thumbs up for having delivered the pilot census in their districts despite the challenges they were facing.
“I am aware that you have worked very hard to have conducted the pilot census in your districts despite some hiccups that might have occurred. These, as we are all aware was a result of the pandemic that befell our country, and in fact the entire world”, she said.
The NCC also pointed out that she is aware that the DCOs might have gotten frustrated with some of the processes such as arrangements for training venues, changes in the school calendar, and procurement processes.
“It is in the interest of all of us to have very clean financials for this project. I am very grateful for your patience with the process”, she said.
Ms. Kerekang said the workshop will give the whole team an opportunity to review processes and take corrective measures.
She further said that during the evaluation some issues will be very straight forward and their implementation will not await the conclusion of all evaluation while other issues will require intense consultation with different stakeholders.
“This specifically covers issues related to the IT system as well as connectivity”, she said.
Ms. Kerekang buttressed that the conclusion of the evaluation workshops will result in different recommendations and an extensive plan for executing such.
“The time we have up to August 2022 when we shall be going to the main census is quite limited and will require speedy execution of the plan,” she said.
Earlier in the week Ms. Kerekang also echoed the same sentiments in an evaluation workshop for Census Technical Officers where she promised that a number of other workshops are going to be held for the evaluation of the pilot census.
For her part, the representative of DCOs, Ms Kopano Mafonga said they have learnt a lot from the pilot census adding that they are now more than willing to partake in the upcoming Population and Housing Census in August 2022.
“Not overshadowing good experiences I feel that a lot of issues need to be ironed”, she said.
Ms. Mafonga said the issue of training allowance should be tackled so early for the smooth running of the main census.
“You should also clear the mist on the payment of honorarium whether it should be taxed or not”, said Ms. Mafonga.
On other issues, Ms Mafonga advised Statistics Botswana officials to improve their communications avenues also advised them to be exemplary on cost saving measures.
“Your communication is also haphazard it is not well coordinated, please give us what is supposed to reach us”, she said.
Giving closing remarks the Acting Deputy Statistician-General (ECOSOC), Mr Tapologo Baakile thanked the DCOs for having worked well with the entire Statistics Botswana team in delivering the pilot census.
“I must say there was an experience and the team worked well and we can only ensure that such collaboration continues to grow”, he said.
Mr Baakile said a pilot census, by nature, is conducted to test all the processes involved in the conduct of a fully-fledged Population and Housing Census. The findings and feedback from the pilot exercise are used to correct any anomaly if any, in order that we have a census that has very few challenges.
On the upcoming census, Mr Baakile noted that it will not be like any that we have had before as it is conducted at the time of COVID where issues of protocols, adding that there is likely to be a higher number of refusals.
“It was encouraging to note that such incidents were few and some were managed on time. We must brace ourselves for more of those in the main census. I have no doubt that with our experience and training we shall be equal to the task” he said.
Mr. Baakile also rest assured the DCOs that the leadership of Statistics Botswana will be meeting with District Commissioners and Council Secretaries to share the findings of the pilot and map the forward on issues that were raised at the workshop.